Caste discrimination woven into Spanish Colonial art of the Americas

Above: “Virgin of the Tailors,” Cusco, Peru, circa 1750, on loan from Museo Pedro de Osma, Lima

Late-colonial New Spain was awash with conflicting energies: American-born Spaniards (Creoles), like their North American counterparts, felt a growing desire for independence, yet needed their identification with Europe to cement their sense of superiority over the racialized indigenous, African, and mixed-race lower classes….”

“Casta Painting and the Rhetorical Body,” Christa Olson, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Fall 2009

And 18th-century fashion statements as recorded in paintings and sculpture became a tool to exhibit the claimed superiority of those with pure, or at least high, percentages of Spanish blood flowing through their veins. On display at the Blanton Museum of Art through January 8, Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America focuses on the societal role of textiles in conveying class distinctions.

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19-teens Labor: Major holiday marches, brewing concerns and Colonel dogs

Above: 1914 Labor Day photograph of workers in front of Maverick Building on Alamo Plaza provided by Connie Fuller to Paula Allen for The History Column appearing in the November 7, 2013, issue of the San Antonio Express-News

Labor Day was the only national holiday between July 4 and Christmas.”

Carol Boyd Leon, “The Life of American Workers in 1915,” Monthly Labor Review, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Typical 1911 Fat Men’s Race from Kickass Fact Encyclopedia

With a dearth of holidays, it should come as no surprise that more than 50 unions turned out for San Antonio’s Labor Day Parade in 1911. A crowd of 5,000 gathered at the fairgrounds. “Colonel” Otto Wahrmund, vice president of the San Antonio Brewing Association which produced Pearl Beer, remarks in An Ostrich-Plumed Hat, and Yes, She Shot Him Dead, that there they encountered the excitement of the beer drivers’ union striving to have their candidate crowned queen; sporting events such as the fat men racing for 75 yards or the old men (50 years and up, how insulting!) crawling 50 yards to win a purse of $2; and fiery political speeches.

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Postcard from Zaragoza, Spain: Seductive scallops and marisquerias

Above: Zamburinas at Marisqueria Tony

Faithful making the long Camino de Santiago pilgrimage crossing from France through Spain, perhaps a 500-mile hike, wanted to return with a souvenir as proof of the arduous journey afoot. A shell found commonly on the Galician coast just beyond the route’s destination of Santiago de Compostela became that evidence, a variegated or calico sea scallop, zamburina.

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